Hope all is going well. I want to start out this week’s blog wishing my wife Tina a very happy birthday. BioSurfaces would not be what it is without her and I could not do what I do if it wasn’t for her. People tend to give me credit (more than I deserve) for the success of the business. Tina does more in the background that mostly goes unnoticed, even though it is what makes the company go. I wanted to take time to thank her, in a very public way, for all she does and being the best part of my day every day.
The title of this week’s blog pays homage to a recent commercial that I really love. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Head and Shoulders shampoo commercial that involves Patrick Mahomes, the current quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs and Troy Polamalu, a retired defensive player from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Troy was known as a person that was constantly in motion during a football game, never taking a play off. The commercial taps into the way he played, showing him in so many different scenarios with Mahomes, from a golf instructor to a dentist, each time saying to Mahomes, “Never not working.” Here is a link to the commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzXfCVnOtcU). As I was working the other night, this commercial came to mind and made me laugh.
I can relate to this statement not because I am looking for a pat on the back. I think every entrepreneur has this type of philosophy. There are very few down times and when one thing stops, another one picks back up. It is a curse and a blessing at the same time. It would be nice to move all of the different aspects of the company forward at once. Unfortunately, we have never been a company that has had endless access to cash. We have had to be patient and move our technology forward in a slow and sometimes, steady fashion. There can also be some stretches where not a lot of progress is being made, at least on the product development front. When that is happening, the business team is out looking for different groups to partner with or trying to find other funding options to continue to move the technology forward, even if that is incremental. Unfortunately, many of the potential partners that we would like to work with either cannot make a decision to save their lives, want something that is already in the package (and they call that early stage), or have decided that what is out there is good enough and not worth putting any money into advancing the technology.
Case in point is our NuSpun™ Vascular Graft, the topic of last week’s #FactualFriday. As most of you know, developing an artificial artery that could benefit patients one day is a real passion of mine. I have been pursuing this for over 30 years on a personal level. BioSurfaces has been working on this area on and off over the past 19 years. We understand that the company will not be the one to move the device forward. Our goal is to partner with a company that has expertise in this space and work together to bring this to fruition. As I like to say, we are good with being the king maker and not the king. We received several government grants over the first 10 years in business that allowed us to move the graft technology forward. There was then a lull in progress. Several years ago, we conducted a large preclinical study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of our NuSpun™ Vascular Graft. We raised capital from a group of investors and dedicated a significant portion of this raise to conduct this study showing how important we believe this technology is. We completed the study just before COVID hit and needless to say, another lull ensued.
Over the past year, I have received a couple of emails from vascular surgeons that I worked with early in my career. They told me how frustrating it is to have poor choices in artificial arteries for their patients. One surgeon relayed to me that they were in the operating room for 2 hours trying to remove a blood clot from a patient’s graft. He remembered our technology and wanted to learn about the progress we were making. We provided him with some of our data that he was going to present to other surgeons at an upcoming meeting. These interactions have drawn my attention back to the graft after the lull. We have been reaching out to potential strategic partners to try to bring attention to our graft technology. Even after several years, trying to get partners willing to think about patients over large profits is still a challenge. Not much has changed. We still remain undeterred. We need to keep progress on the graft moving forward. Never not working 😊.
Please check out our next #FactualFriday on October 20th. We’ll see you back here on October 27th.